Your essay’s finished, and it’s time to read it through. Your eyes glide smoothly over the lines of text, neatly ranged across the screen. It all looks so good — surely it must be right! But don’t let your eyes fool your brain. To be an expert proofreader, you need to approach a text as if you’re seeing it for the very first time. So take a break, if possible overnight, and then print out your text double-spaced and in a different typeface. This will help you read your work as if you’ve never seen it before. To make the process even more effective, read your sentences out loud – or whisper them under your breath – and note each time you stumble. (Who cares if people think you’re strange? Writers do it all the time!) You will be amazed by how much you notice and by the simple improvements you can make to your work.
Jane Bingham19 April 2017
Written assignments can be particularly challenging for students whose first language is not English but there are ways to alleviate anxieties around writing.
I’m always reading about the tyranny of the blank page, the terror of starting something new. But once you’ve got going, when you’re drafting, and especially when you’re editing, the blank page can be your friend. When I can’t see why a paragraph or a sentence isn’t working, I cut and paste it into a…
Always print out your work before you submit it – I guarantee you’ll spot mistakes you hadn’t noticed on screen.